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The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine Paperback – October 15, 2007

ISBN-13: 978-0252073816 ISBN-10: 0252073819

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 504 pages
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press (October 15, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0252073819
  • ISBN-13: 978-0252073816
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,186,877 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"The translations are not literal but instead convey the spirit of the 17th-century writer. The volume includes . . . extensive notes offering comments and explicating sources, references, translation difficulties, and so on; and lovely illustrations by David Schorr. Highly recommended."--Choice



"Ably translated from the French by Shapiro, the voices of the animals, birds, insects (and even the occasional human) who populate La Fontaine's fables come alive in rhyme and rhythm that develop the traditional tales." --Library Journal



"In Shapiro's translations, meaning and sound patterns flow into each other with metrical control and create La Fontaine's soothing melody, which is reinforced through a never-ending wit and humor to articulate and to overcome his distaste for human folly."--Translation Review


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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By D. L. Rubin on November 12, 2007
Format: Paperback
That Jean de La Fontaine problematized the fable genre is now well known, thanks to American, British, and German criticism of the late 20th century. Even the French have reluctantly admitted this and dropped the Fables from the baccalaureat program, which privileges what Roland Barthes called the "readable" text, free of ambiguity, unstable irony, allusive metaphor, and aggressive (but usually covert) dialogue with earlier literature. Basing their projects on critical editions and schoolbooks composed under the old dispensation, previous Anglo-American translators of the Fables have perpetuated the image of La Fontaine as the Gallic Aesop, more intricately melodic and stylistically adroit, to be sure, but ultimately slick, straightforward, and commonsensical. Only Marianne Moore - in a self-indulgent and finally useless caprice - wandered away from that dubious model, making the French poems over in the quirky image of her own, often zoological masterpieces. Comes now Norman Shapiro, whose La Fontaine not only coincides with current understanding of the original but also also succeeds as poetry in English: subtly nuanced, dense, resonant, and compellingly rereadable. More than a prize, this rendering deserves a place with Terence Cave's The Princesse of Cleves, John Cairncross's Phaedra, and Richard Wilbur's Misanthrope in the classical canon "made new" for Frenchless readers of our time and place.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Richard R. Hays on September 10, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is very well done. I needed a copy of these fables for a comparative literature class for senior citizens, as my copy is in French. We shall be discussing fables, tall tales, Green myths, fairy tales, etc. I already have a copy of Aesop's Fables.

I also needed these poems to coordinate with some Disney and Looney Tunes versions of the written fables.

Should be fun. Some of these students are much older than I am. Quite a different population from my Jr High, High School and Community College populations.

I want to encourage this class to write their own fables, etc for a small publication after the class is over.
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Fabulous, Freely translated to match the original style and rhyme pattern (for the most part). I was in Paris recently and bought the French edition of the Fables. (Also visited La Fontaine's grave at Pere Lachese). Keep in mind that this is a useful tool when you need help with the French originals, but it is a FREE translation. Enjoy it for the work of translation art it is.
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A nice handy version of this classic , the translation into "English" english works well,even still their are some changes necessary for
"American " english. for example The Cicada and the ant became the Grasshopper and the ant somehow in the USA!
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0 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Hashima Shata on October 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
La Fontaine's stories are well known , my gripe is with this edition ,the way it presents itself . I have other copies from other publishers the come out nicer to look at and hold .
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